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View Poll Results: Has architectural modernism failed?
Yes 190 45.13%
No 231 54.87%
Voters: 421. You may not vote on this poll

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Old February 22nd, 2015, 01:57 PM   #621
Mr Bricks
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Modernism is often defended by people with relativistic beliefs, i.e. no style in history can be more successful/beautiful than any other. These people believe that a dislike for a certain style comes from a lack of understanding for that particular era, which is nonsense.
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Old February 22nd, 2015, 02:02 PM   #622
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Originally Posted by CNB30 View Post
But I would argue that except for a handful of crazy architecture nerds, most people tend to prefer the quality of older buildings as opposed to most modern soulless boxes
I don't think that's always the case. I know people who love modernist buildings who don't care about architecture. I asked my non-architecture brother if he would live in the Farnsworth House or in a victorian house and he picked Farnsworth. He had no idea it was famous either
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Old February 22nd, 2015, 02:08 PM   #623
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Originally Posted by Mr Bricks View Post
These people believe that a dislike for a certain style comes from a lack of understanding for that particular era, which is nonsense.
No, saying that is nonsense, and in fact dangerous, since many nice icons can be demolished instead of preserved.

I even have proof that a lack of understanding leads to dislike. I hated all postmodernism until I started to study it, and now I like it. I understand what the architects tried to do.

People hate derelict and low quality buildings. Everything else stands the test of time.
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Old February 22nd, 2015, 04:58 PM   #624
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Bricks View Post
Modernism is often defended by people with relativistic beliefs, i.e. no style in history can be more successful/beautiful than any other. These people believe that a dislike for a certain style comes from a lack of understanding for that particular era, which is nonsense.
I find modernism more beutiful, cool, interesting etc. than other styles and I have little interest in them most of the time so it's a matter of your personal preferences I guess.
What I can't understand is why many people are so agressive about what they like to the point they want to destroy everything else
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Old February 22nd, 2015, 04:58 PM   #625
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Old buildings need expensive investments to reach the actual comfort criteria. As I have observed, it means that the high interest is not the only reason for the high price, but also that you cannot use it without heavy renovation, excluding the poorest of course.
I'm not sure how is that true. While expensive reconstruction of the kitchen and bathroom is usually needed, there is not much else that should be done for living to be comfortable (unless it's an old workers' barrack or that sort of thing). But the same is true also for ALL buildings that haven't had a reconstruction in 20-30 years.


Soviet modernism Purvciems

And I would say that old buildings are better, more comfortable than modern ones. Modern buildings aren't that functional. It's hard to navigate and easy to get lost in the chaotic modernist urban planning. I'm not sure how it's in other countries, but over here the buildings aren't built very good. Even the expensive new projects built after 2000 usually have paper-thin walls, unhandy planning (both inside and outside), 'соседи view', French balconies instead of proper ones, etc. And, of course, the enormous carparks around some of the new buildings are a truly "great" addition to the view and living (this doesn't apply to buildings with underground carparks).
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Old February 22nd, 2015, 05:53 PM   #626
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I'm not sure how is that true. While expensive reconstruction of the kitchen and bathroom is usually needed, there is not much else that should be done for living to be comfortable (unless it's an old workers' barrack or that sort of thing). But the same is true also for ALL buildings that haven't had a reconstruction in 20-30 years.
I don't know about Riga but when it comes to Poland in many of them there is no proper bathroom, gas pipes, central heating or elevators and wooden construction elements pose a high fire hazard. Not to mention the lack of underground carparks or any designed parking space which result in cars taking over sidewalks and public spaces that outside of some representative parts are generally lacking due to the lack of space in general which brings me to the next problem which is the lack of natural sunlight that can get quite drastic in the so called "wells" :





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Old February 22nd, 2015, 06:24 PM   #627
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Oh, wow! Those are some really claustrophobic spaces!
I'm not sure if we have such small ones, but I haven't been to many. But this really is an actual problem that was sort of solved with modernism. I just don't like the chaotic street sides. Perhaps there could be a compromise, building new buildings on the perimeter just like they did historically, but leaving big inner courtyards?

IMO in a city there should be almost no cars (if you need one, you can keep it in a secure multi-storey carpark in the outskirts) because it takes up too much space. In a city large enough, public transport and cycling is much more effective (if they are done properly).

Cars taking over sidewalks and public spaces is true also for the Soviet districts which have almost no parking so it doesn't mean that the problem was solved with modernism. It's just a question of whether there is parking or is not.

Elevators are also something that is not an architectural style problem - some 5 storey Art Nouveau building have elevators while many modernist (again, yes, I am talking about Soviet modernism, because nobody else was stupid enough not to build elevators) of the same height don't.

Fire hazard, old pipes and stuff IS a problem. But it's similar with 1970ies buildings.
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Old February 22nd, 2015, 11:14 PM   #628
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No, saying that is nonsense, and in fact dangerous, since many nice icons can be demolished instead of preserved.

I even have proof that a lack of understanding leads to dislike. I hated all postmodernism until I started to study it, and now I like it. I understand what the architects tried to do.

People hate derelict and low quality buildings. Everything else stands the test of time.
I am not saying that dislike can't stem from ignorance, of course it can. I am merely saying that that is not always the case, and can't be used to defend relativistic nonsense.

I started liking modernist architecture myself after having understood it properly, and I agree with you on this. However, it also works the other way around. Sometimes I'm so caught up in historical and aesthetic context that I fail to clearly see the building for what it truly is. In my experience it sometimes takes a complete stranger to architecture to get you to see things you normally wouldn't.
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Old February 23rd, 2015, 02:48 AM   #629
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I am not saying that dislike can't stem from ignorance, of course it can. I am merely saying that that is not always the case, and can't be used to defend relativistic nonsense.
Not understanding something is a huge source of hatred towards it. And not just for architecture

Quote:
I started liking modernist architecture myself after having understood it properly, and I agree with you on this. However, it also works the other way around. Sometimes I'm so caught up in historical and aesthetic context that I fail to clearly see the building for what it truly is. In my experience it sometimes takes a complete stranger to architecture to get you to see things you normally wouldn't.
But there's already a huge stigma and negative stereotypes against modernist architecture as a result of the postmodernist movement gaining power for the past 30 years, the misconception that it is maintenance-free, and the fact that it was used to build socialist ghettos. The good aspects of it need to be pointed out, even in obsolete derelict buildings, sometimes. There's many examples of modernist buildings restored to their original look, and people always comment on how they "couldn't have imagined it would look so good"
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Old February 23rd, 2015, 04:03 PM   #630
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But there's already a huge stigma and negative stereotypes against modernist architecture as a result of the postmodernist movement gaining power for the past 30 years, the misconception that it is maintenance-free, and the fact that it was used to build socialist ghettos. The good aspects of it need to be pointed out, even in obsolete derelict buildings, sometimes. There's many examples of modernist buildings restored to their original look, and people always comment on how they "couldn't have imagined it would look so good"
Maybe in more educated (and conservative) circles but not among the general population. I think most people have since the 60s been quite indifferent or even hostile towards modernist architecture. The social progress simply outweighed the aesthetic qualities of the style, hence it was supported.
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Old February 23rd, 2015, 07:36 PM   #631
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I'm not sure it's 'most people' either. There's no evidence for that. Maybe 'some people' but that's expected with such a misunderstood style.

I'm sure most people only care about a place that's well maintained.
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Old February 23rd, 2015, 11:23 PM   #632
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I even have proof that a lack of understanding leads to dislike. I hated all postmodernism until I started to study it, and now I like it. I understand what the architects tried to do..
Thats exactly the problem! You need to actually have studied modernism (and every style that derived from it: PoMo, Deconstructivism etc.) to like and cherish it, while "historical" styles are understandable for everybody. When walking through a historic neighborhood it simply is beautiful. These buildings are built to last and to appeal to everybody, while ,as far as I understand, modernist architecture ALWAYS tries to force an interaction with the observer, be it positive or negative (In my eyes mostly negative). Which is an concept that can't and hopefully will not last forever. I really don't get why you would choose a language that's difficult to learn and to understand over a very natural and easy one. (As an analogy you could compare the unnatural language Esperanto to English. English being a very natural and easy language, therfore also widely adopted. Esperanto while being somewhat easy, not adopted because of syntheticity.[Why would you force everybody to speak esperanto, if we have a much better way to cummunicate? Why would you force everybody to study and understand modern architecture if we have a easier architectural language available?])
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Old February 23rd, 2015, 11:30 PM   #633
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It's more to do with bad things being spread about modernism that distracts people from otherwise seeing their positive aspects, than inherently not being able to understand it. E.g. associating all modernism with socialist ghettos, or run down office lowrises. Or botched renovations/poor quality construction that ruined the original vision.

The time a building was constructed also affects public opinion. 30-60 years is a dangerous point in a building's life, as they are seen as outdated, not contemporary or historic.
It even happened to the buildings of the vicotrian era. For example, the Chicago Water Tower was called a 'monstrosity' by many people, even Oscar Wilde, but nobody would dare call it that today.

Too much modernism can be boring for some, but too much of the same thing is always boring. If a city was totally gothic with nothing else it would seem boring. Sure the sculptures would be cool for about a week or two, but then it would become repetitive.
A great city has a mix of all styles, ages and sizes, either together or in separate districts.
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Old February 24th, 2015, 12:07 AM   #634
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Hurz, you're right. Modernism sometimes seems like a dying language, there's some fans for sure and it may survive, but it just lacks practicability and beauty for everyday use.

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a misunderstood style
That's a common misconception heard from modernist fellows.

Any architectural style that needs to be "understood" first instead of offering its qualities at first sight, is deemed to fail. Architecture is unlike any other art that could be "hidden" somewhere in private rooms. It's our built environment and just needs to work for the people, it doesn't need to be understood. It just needs to work.

(I'm not talking "form follows function" here, rather "form is function" - outright beauty and harmony need to be offered to the viewer. There can be exceptions, but they should be exceptions rather than the rule.)
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Old February 24th, 2015, 03:05 AM   #635
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So what about aquired tastes?
Surely those can't all be failures.

And it's not like no ordinary person can understand modernism. I think most people would describe a Miesian as beautiful, especially if they can respect the vision of beauty though cleanliness.

Maximalism and excessiveness doesn't hold a monopoly on beauty, since it's not uncommon to see over-decorated palaces being called garish or tacky if they are not designed properly.

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Old February 24th, 2015, 03:51 AM   #636
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I try to combine both traditional and contemporary elements in my designs. I can't say that the modernism has failed due to the fact that there are tons of gorgeous modern buildings. However, it is true that they fit anywhere. To some extent, they lack of soul and fail to transfer the idea behind the process of design.

I have always admired Foster's modern additions to classical buildings. Modern architecture lets me cut on the cost and keeps me away from going kitsch most of the time. However, it doesn't help to the soul of my designs. I come to senses that if I combine them, I get the soul and the warmness that art provides by using traditional elements and I can cut on the cost by using contemporary solutions. It doesn't have to be black or white. It can be gray sometimes and I think we, as architects, often forget the fact that the past is our only reference. Architects shouldn't be scared of using more traditional elements in their contemporary designs if they are familiar with the classical architecture at all. Soulless modern designs can be pretty out of place in most European city cores. In my city, Istanbul, bare modern structures can be pretty awkward and unwanted by the public since the city core is over 8000 years old. Most people don't want fancy cubes. They want warmness, soul and character. A small flat in a classical baroque building in the city core costs around 1 million Euros. However, you can get the same size flat 15 mins away from the core in a modernist building for about 200K Euros in Istanbul, Turkey. You draw the demand-price tag parabola.
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Old February 24th, 2015, 05:34 AM   #637
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Not every modernist building has to be white and grey. This is also considered modernist:


This thread which has some very nice soulful modernism
http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=1733581
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Old February 24th, 2015, 05:49 AM   #638
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Originally Posted by HURZ View Post
I really don't get why you would choose a language that's difficult to learn and to understand over a very natural and easy one.
And be creatively stagnant?

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Why would you force everybody to study and understand modern architecture if we have a easier architectural language available?])

Nobody's being forced to do anything, but there's nothing wrong with encouraging interest and debunking negative myths
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Old February 24th, 2015, 12:10 PM   #639
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That's not quite true. Millions or rather billions of people are "forced" to look at modernist buildings each and every day. That's what I'm saying all the time, you really can't choose to ignore modernism. Practically everywhere you move, you'll have to look at it, since it's thrown at almost everything.
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Old February 24th, 2015, 08:47 PM   #640
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Is there anyone saying 'you must like this style or else'? No. There's a lot of people wearing jeans, are they forcing you to look at their clothing, even if you don't like it?


It just comes off as snobbish to suggest that modernism is something people are "forced to look at". I don't understand this pretension of knowing what all people like.
If the evidence shows anything, people like well maintained and well built spaces. Anything else is subjective.

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